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Commenting article: Itamar Rabinovich: Muslim Anger Caused by 'Difficulty of Coping with Modernity'

Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli Ambassador to the United States (1993-1996), spoke with Novinite last week, while he was in Bulgaria to attend a conference on education and culture and their role in combating extremism.

Mr Rabinovich is the founding president of Israel Institute, a former President of Tel Aviv University and currently a Distinguished Global Professor at New York University. Between 1992 and 1996, he was also Israel's chief negotiator with Syria.

The conference he took part in, co-organized by UNESCO and the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, was titled "Countering Violent Extremism: New Security Agenda for Education and Culture”, co-organized by UNESCO and the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria". Far from subjects such as Israel and Palestine or the issue of a Kurdish independent state (on which his views are quite outspoken) we discuss the role of education and international bodies in fighting extremism and the use of education to address what Mr Rabinovich calls "Muslim anger".

Mr Rabinovich, the conference you are here for is dedicated to the role of education and mindset in the fighting extremism. What is wrong with western and particularly US education that raises minds prone to radicalization?

There isn't that much terrorism in the West. Of course you had the wave of terrorism in the 1960s and 1970s, but I don't think it was the product of education. It was the product of unhappiness, particularly by young people who were getting disappointed by the system. Protest against the system can manifest itself in many ways. For instance, when we look at French politics nowadays, the success of radical right, of the National Front and [its leader] Marine Le Pen, part of the explanation is often that people are sick and tired of the system. Thirty or forty years ago what people did when they were unhappy with the system - they went underground and resorted to terrorism. Today many vote for radical right-wing parties and this is not so much a product of education but a product of non-education. I know that recently a poll looking at the support for [Donald] Trump in the United States showed his greatest support is among non-college educated, blue-collar workers in America. The stratum of society that feels dejected, unhappy, sick and tired with traditional politics and for them Trump represents something new. So it's not so much what you learn in school, but the fact is that often times you don't have access to higher education.

Ivailo Ivanov - 22 Dec 2015 // 21:34:58

From the biological view point of the evolution, the modernity is one priority behind the procreation.. and if less \"modern\" beings procreate better than they will inhabit the earth.. because in reality we do not know what modernity really is.... some people may not be good mortgage payers but if they procreate better than sorry for the system of usury..

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